Quick(er) Whole Wheat Bread Bowls

Quick Whole Wheat Bread Bowls | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Ryan’s a man with simple food needs. When I feel stumped on new recipes, and ask him what I should make, his normal response is, “Make a stuffed something.” He likes food inside of food.

Last Saturday my very favorite person, this stuffed-food lover, turned 30. To celebrate this new decade, we went to his dad’s house in southwest Wisconsin for a weekend of slowing down, playing fetch with Teia in the wide open (WOW it’s funny how fast those tiny legs can go), and, for me, making some of Ryan’s favorite things.

Teia Wisconsin

When I ask for recipe help and he mentions stuffed food, about a third of the time the conversation turns to bread bowls. For a long time I resisted, because, to be honest, bread baking is time-consuming and intimidating. Too often have I set out to make bread, put in the time, and ended up with a dry, hard, disappointing result.

Quick Whole Wheat Bread Bowls | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Fortunately, with all that disappointment comes WISDOM, and I’ve recently started to feel more comfortable with yeasted breads. The process has actually become pretty fun and satisfying. When I see the yeast foam up during proofing I’ll say, “Look at that yeast go! It’s magical!” Sure, Ryan makes fun of me for this (cause who wouldn’t?), but tasty, airy, well-made yeasted bread is no laughing matter.

Quick Whole Wheat Bread Bowls | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

These bread bowls only require 7 ingredients, and instant yeast speeds up the rise time from around 90 minutes to 50 minutes (which is a BIG difference if you’re impatient like me). If I’m eating a large bowl of bread, I prefer that it be whole wheat so I get some whole grains, fiber, and protein with my carbs. To keep these airy and chewy, I added vital wheat gluten to the dough. You should be able to find it in the baking aisle (Bob’s Red Mill), or in a bulk bin. You only need 2 tablespoons, but don’t leave it out, because that extra boost of gluten makes a huge difference in texture.

Quick Whole Wheat Bread Bowls | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

This recipe makes 4 large bread bowls, and can easily be doubled if needed. The resulting bowls are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and perfectly comforting when paired with creamy, hearty, cheesy soup…which Ryan ate 3 helpings of on his birthday. We’ll get to that later this week :)
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Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Salted Coconut Oil Frosting

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Salted Coconut Oil Frosting | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Despite the recent surge of fall-ish recipes on my blog, I’m still in denial about this changing season thing. Although I usually love fall, I’m having to kind of force myself into embracing it. I could use another month or so of summer before the beginning of the end of the outside time.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Salted Coconut Oil Frosting | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Ryan, on the other hand, leaps face first into this season. When we met he told me he loved fall because of the trees changing. He said he went to his dad’s house in Wisconsin to see the leaves change and bird watch. BIRD WATCH! ha! That cracks me up every time I think about it.

Three dates in he admitted his dirty secret which, if you read this blog you already know: he’s a hunter, and was too afraid to tell me this after hearing I’m a vegetarian.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Salted Coconut Oil Frosting | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

For Ryan this season means sitting in a tree stand and observing nature (he rarely shoots anything – don’t tell him I said that), for me, however, it’s all about the food: pumpkin, chai, aaaaand sweet potato!

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Salted Coconut Oil Frosting | veggieandthebeastfeast.comSweet Potato Cupcakes with Salted Coconut Oil Frosting | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

If you’re like my mom, you may be weirded out by the idea of a sweet potato dessert (to be fair, she’s also one of those anti-pumpkin people), but but BUT, think about it…sweet potato adds moisture just like pumpkin, but it’s sweeter, so it works perfectly in these little spiced cakes.

Also like pumpkin, sweet potato can be found pre-pureed in cans (I have found it at Whole Foods and the local co-op), so you have a convenient shortcut that makes peeling, cooking and mashing potatoes a non-issue.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Salted Coconut Oil Frosting | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

The cute little frosting that’s all prettily piped on top gets its sturdiness (and fat, shhhh…) from coconut oil. I recently saw that Butter Loves Company adapted my vegan chai cake and topped it with a coconut oil frosting. Intrigued, I played around with the idea as the topper for these cakes, added some salt, and luuurved the result. The coconut oil base makes for a creamy frosting that packs tons of flavor.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Salted Coconut Oil Frosting | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

A heads-up about that flavor: Since the coconut oil is not cooked, the frosting DOES taste like coconut. Ryan and I love everything about coconut, but if you’re serving to someone who is not a coconut fan, you may want to consider another frosting.

…Or use the coconut oil frosting anyway and just be all “GIVE ME YOUR FROSTING,” and double up that coconutty goodness.
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Maple Chai Spice Pancakes

Maple Chai Spice Pancakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I’ve had a rather large stack of maple chai spice pancakes for breakfast every day for the past 5 days, and you know what? I’m not sick of them because they are THAT GOOD.

They were all leftover from last Saturday and Sunday when I tested this recipe like a crazy person.

Maple Chai Spice Pancakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.comMaple Chai Spice Pancakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I should know by now that when I set out to test a new pancake recipe it’s going to be a lengthy process. They’re just so finicky with their fluffy vs. thick vs. cakey ratios that you need to get just right, while ensuring they aren’t doughy, because gross…and THEN there’s the part of me that refuses to make pancakes that aren’t 100% whole wheat unless it’s a special occasion.

So now we have a goal of thick, fluffy, non-doughy pancakes that are 100% whole wheat and also contain no eggs, because I have a real-deal aversion to eggs lately.

I’m exhausting. Ryan’s a patient man.

Maple Chai Spice Pancakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

So anywho, this recipe took 5 tries to get just right, but I think I did it!…and just in time for the cooler air this weekend (at least in MN, that is). These cakes are fluffy, sweet, nutty, and full of those chai spices that warm my autumn-loving heart.

Maple Chai Spice Pancakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I recommend you sleep in, wear your pajamas and slippers for far too long, mix some cinnamon into your coffee grounds before brewing, and then whip up a batch of your own maple chai spice pancakes, because it’s September and that is just what we do.
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Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Linguine

Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Linguine | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Too soon with the pumpkin recipe?

Eeeerm, I couldn’t NOT do it. Apparently I’m a “basic white girl,” because this list is spot on.

Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Linguine | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

When the weather gets cooler, creamy and comforting foods just feel so right. Ryan especially loves pasta sauces filled with heavy cream. One of the first times he made a meal for me when we moved in together he said he was making us pesto pasta. I sat down with a glass of wine and watched him pour a LOT of heavy cream in the saucepan. We’re talking a good 1/2 cup+, for just to two of us.

It was delicious, don’t get me wrong, but here’s the hush-hush thing about cream-based pasta sauces: my tastebuds love them, my tummy does not.

Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Linguine | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I’ve been experimenting with cashews in lieu of dairy pretty frequently lately, but this is the first recipe I felt the immediate need to share. Those cashews, when soaked and whirled up in a blender, create a beautiful cream sauce. That cream sauce, along with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, pumpkin, and warm fall spices, makes for a super luxurious autumn dinner.

I made this on Friday, which was the first fall-like day in MN, and also a day when I happened to be home sick with a hacking cough. This dinner, which is really quick to make, and about as comforting as can be, was just what I needed.

Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Linguine | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Since this recipe is full of cashews, it is not a lower-fat alternative to alfredo. I’m not afraid of high-fat meals, especially when the fat comes from cashews. Ryan and I watched a food documentary about a year ago that mentioned cashews being a natural mood lifter. Apparently cashews are a good source of tryptophan, which your body turns into serotonin.

So yes, this is a high-fat recipe, but those are happy fats!

Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Linguine | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I’m no doctor or nutritionist, but any possibly natural mood boost is good by me…especially if it means devouring this pasta.

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Vegetable Fried Quinoa

Vegetable Fried Quinoa | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I never really knew I liked fried rice. Since I’m not an egg fan, I rarely ordered it. When I did, I would pick out the eggs, and wasn’t able to fully focus on the yums.

I know, my food aversions are strange, but they’re REAL.

Vegetable Fried Quinoa | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Fortunately, I found a way to make my own version at home, and now I want to eat it with all the things.

Last week I made a batch of my baked cream cheese jalapeño wontons, sweet and sour sauce for dipping, and a side of this vegetable fried quinoa. It turned out to be one of our favorite dinners of the summer.

Vegetable Fried Quinoa | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I like substituting quinoa for rice in this dish because 1) whole grains! 2) SO quick to cook (1/3 the time of brown rice), 3) complete vegetarian protein.

So many good things wrapped up in one little seed with tons of texture.

Vegetable Fried Quinoa | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Speaking of texture, for a little extra crunch I like sprinkling some crushed and roasted peanuts on top.

I love this quinoa as a side dish, but it could also be a full meal with a bit of this crispy sesame tofu. DO IT. do it.
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